A few years ago, matcha was a name heard in some premium coffee shops and a core ingredient of some high-end skincare products. However, it has become a household name, thanks to its multiple health benefits.
Matcha tea is an amazing remedy for boosting metabolism and improving overall well-being. This is one reason that you’ll find it in hundreds of recipes and thousands of skincare products.
Unfortunately, this magical health elixir doesn’t come at a low price. Time and again, buyers have pointed that matcha is expensive to buy. But what is that?
Many factors contribute to the high price of matcha. Once a popular luxury beverage served throughout Japan, matcha has become more popular today as people have started liking its taste. The plant used to make matcha is a fickle plant that needs to be tended to frequently and requires perfect weather conditions. Besides, it isn’t easy to turn the tea into green powder.
Sounds complex, right? Here are the top reasons why matcha is so expensive
1- Difficult Growing Process
Matcha comes from the plant Camellia Sinensis that is shade-grown. This is a traditional growing technique that requires farmers to cover their plants with a black plastic mesh.
Shading helps increase chlorophyll and amino acids in the leaves of the plant. This is also what gives matcha its distinct, vibrant green colour. Additionally, shading provides the plant with more time to build up theanine and caffeine.
Theanine improves the quality of tea and gives it a sweeter taste while maintaining the earthy undertone.
Farmers are required to tend to the crops to ensure the quality of tea. Even a single plant in the sun for too long can damage the whole field.
2- Geological Restrictions
It is interesting to know that matcha can be grown in two regions of Japan – Uji in Kyoto and Nishio in Aichi.
Both these cities have been growing matcha since the Edo period. Uji was the first city for growing green tea. It is known as Japan’s matcha capital. Tea enthusiasts from all over the world come to this town to learn the art of brewing the perfect cup of tea.
Interestingly, Nishio also claims to be the matcha capital of Japan. Here, farmers prefer tana to prevent the sun from drying out the leaves.
3- Low Harvest
Matcha tea is only made with tencha or the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. While other teas may include twigs and stems of the plant, matcha only uses the tencha as it gives a noticeably smoother flavour. It also loads the matcha with nutrients.
There are four harvest seasons in Japan – Ichibancha, Nibancha, Sanbancha and Shuutoubancha. Ichibancha is the first harvest season that begins in early April and ends in June.
Matcha tea can only be grown in the Ichibancha harvest season. This limits the harvest to two months. And if the season gets too dry, the harvest time is reduced even more.
4- Overlong Preparation
Processing matcha is tedious. The first step is picking the tencha, which requires time and effort. This is because matcha only uses the greenest and youngest leaves. Vibrant coloured leaves have plenty of chlorophyll and theanine.
Later, the leaves are put into a machine that steams them for 20 seconds. This prevents oxidizing and losing colour. Post steaming, the leaves are put through an air dryer to prevent moisture build-up.
Then, the workers go through each leaf to remove any veins or stems. The last step is grading leaves, where each leaf is sorted by colour, aroma, and texture.
5- Slow Processing
The tencha needs to undergo one more phase to become the matcha powder that people love.
Matcha is ground up into a fine powder using a unique method. A stone grinder is used to get extremely fine matcha powder.
Most matcha tea makers use granite grinders as it grinds the leaves so fine that the power gets stuck between the fingerprint’s ridges. The process of growing and making matcha is slow where most producers fight against time and nature.
6- High Demand
Matcha tea was once exclusive to Japan. However, it is consumed by people all across the globe because of its health benefits.
Although Japan produces more than 1000 tonnes of matcha powder every year which is a lot of finely grounded powder, it is not enough for every person in the world.
Today, matcha tea is not just used in foods and beverages but is also a core ingredient of several beauty products.
Numerous applications of matcha combined with increased popularity are leading to high demand. Unfortunately, the supply remains the same.
Since tea making is a significant activity in Japan, there’s no way that the producers will reduce the quality. Instead, the price is raised.
But Matcha Is Worth It!
The health benefits of matcha tea make it worthy. Consuming matcha is a great way to improve overall well-being and strengthen your body.
When used on the skin, it can help your skin look youthful and imparts a healthy glow.
Matcha is truly worth every penny spent. Get your hands on high quality Japanese matcha tea online before stocks last!